Question 1: Bicameral structure
The federal constitution created two types of national legislative bodies namely the Senate also known as the upper house and the Congress (House of Representatives) (Hall, 2014). The population of the House of Representatives is usually larger as it is designed to represent citizen interests at the lowest levels while the Senate contains two representatives from each state. The Senate has more powers as compared to the Congress since they assist the president in making major policy issues that affect the entire nation and its position in the international community. Both houses, however, have legislative powers as their main business. The Senate and the Congress also provide checks and balances to the other arms of the government. Both houses employ a committee structure in their work to ensure delegation of duties for greater efficiency. Some of the differences include senators serve 6 years term while Congress members serve 2 years term. House of Representatives is responsible for creating revenue bills while the Senate has veto powers and foreign policy decision powers. The Senate confirmed the members of executives such as the ambassadors and cabinet while Congress has no such powers.
Question 2: Importance of the committee
The legislative committees are critical bodies in the legislative bodies as they help both houses to deal with bulk legislative work more efficiently through delegation of duties to various committees. The bills are initiated by committees and also they help in conducting public participation from different society segments such as the interest groups, public and other stakeholders. These committees also prepare reports which they table to the floor of the house for the entire house deliberations. The committee members also play a pivotal role in enriching thoughts on the debate and defending the committee reports and bills as constituted at the committee level and tabled to the floor of the house (Frisch & Kelly, 2008). The committees help shape and organize the legislative work of both the Senate and the Congress to help both houses become more responsive to the needs of the citizens.
Question 3: Pork barrel spending
The terminology is used to describe when the federal government spends some money on a project specifically aimed to benefit the locals of a particular district represented by the member of Congress. In some cases the spending may be selfish in nature but members of the Congress lobby for such projects in their area as a political tool for drumming up support to their re-election. Some of the examples include wasteful government spending in Montana state university in 2011 to do research on controlling weed through sheep gazing. Another great example is the award of tank upgrade for the army which they did not need in the first place as well as the "Big Dig" project which involved 15 billion U.S dollars expenditure to relocate the highway to the underground in Boston (Frisch, 2013).
Question 4: Roles of the president
President is the head of state and government hence he represents the united states interests in the international arena and leads the government in performing its roles in accordance with the constitution. Another critical role of the president is that of the chief of defense forces. This power gives the president a direct control over the defense forces of the country and with the approval of the congress he can send troops into war with other countries (Presidential Power, 2015). The president has also powers to deploy the country defense forces into various tasks such as rescue, the emergency response among other roles of the army. The holder of the presidency has legislative roles since he can initiate a bill that comes from the executive and then request the support of the legislative arm to pass certain laws to help the government meet its ideologies. The president also has veto powers and can return a bill passed by the legislature giving out his/ her reservations he also signs the bills passed into law. He also shapes the foreign policy of the nation and acts as a chief diplomat in the international arena. There are many negotiations required with other countries in the global arena and the president with the help of the delegation such as ambassadors, secretary of state and other members of his cabinet. The president is also the chief member of the party and help campaign for candidates of his party to get elected and support the party policies and agenda for the country.
Question 5: presidential powers
The president has not too much power since the federal constitution has provided checks and balances that check the excesses of powers bestowed on the person who occupies the presidency. Most of the powers on appointments by the president must be confirmed by the Senate and major resolutions foreign policy resolutions also need to be supported by the legislative arm. The judiciary also checks on the powers of the president since when the president oversteps his mandate and is led by selfish ambitions the judiciary acts as the custodian of the constitution and can overturn president orders when they are deemed to violate the constitution. Such rulings can be the basis of impeaching a sitting president by the legislative arm. The government as established by the constitution hence ensures that with an aggressive legislative, state government and the judiciary the presidential powers cannot be absolute.
Frisch, S. A., & Kelly, S. Q. (2008). Committee assignment politics in the U.S. House of Representatives. Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press.
Frisch, S. A. (2013). The politics of pork: A study of congressional appropriations earmarks. Routledge.
Hall, A. D. M. (2014).The basics of congress. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVnxFLEBIog&feature=youtu.be
Presidential Power (2015). Crash Course Government and Politics retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5l02sK5LovI&feature=youtu.be
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